A proposed apartment complex for seniors at 117th Street and Lone Elm Road in Olathe is getting a second chance after developers agreed to shrink the height of the apartment buildings and make other changes.
The Olathe Planning Commission voted 7-1 Monday to recommend approval of rezoning the 10-acre commercial plot to allow residential multifamily development.
Commissioners had recommended approval of the original plan in October, but the City Council last month sent it back. Council members said they were unhappy with the proposed four-story buildings, which they said were out of character with the surrounding residential neighborhood, and that the rooflines were too uniform and imposing.
Daniel Foster, speaking for the developers, on Monday described a new plan that reduces the two apartment buildings to three stories and redesigns the rooflines to be less repetitive.
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The developers have also replaced the ground-level interior parking garages with freestanding garages, made the clubhouse and pool more centrally located and added six standalone bungalows along Lone Elm Road.
The tradeoff is that the number of units in the complex has decreased from 181 to 173.
Tami Burger, who lives across the street from the site, argued that the developers have still not gone far enough to reduce the complex’s effect on the area and that even three-story buildings are too tall. She also questioned whether apartment managers will be able to ensure that most of the residents are 62 or older, especially if residents have their children live with them.
“I don’t think having apartments in a neighborhood is ideal,” Burger told the commissioners. “If they build something there it should be homes.”
The rezoning is scheduled to go back before the City Council on Jan. 10.
▪ The Planning Commission voted 7-0 to recommend approval of the site development plan for Timber Sage Elementary at the northeast corner of Brougham Drive and 173rd Street. The plan calls for a 72,000-square-foot school on 17 acres with a capacity for 580 students.
Spring Hill School District officials say the school, spanning grades K-5, is scheduled to open in fall 2018.
Commissioner Chip Corcoran recused himself from the vote.
▪ Commissioners also voted 8-0 recommending approval of a slate of changes in how the city regulates the siting of cell towers and other telecommunication equipment. The changes reflect new state legislation limiting the ability of cities in Kansas to block wireless facilities being built.
Olathe officials could no longer require wireless companies show that a new cell tower or other piece of equipment was needed, no longer require cell companies to share space on the same tower and extend the time limit of a permit for a piece of wireless equipment from five years to 10 years. The changes do set height limits for equipment installed in public right-of-way and sets other requirements for utility boxes and other equipment installed at ground level.
The amended regulations are scheduled to go before the City Council early next year.
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